Panentheism is found in all the major religious traditions. It means that everything is in God, yet at least some aspects of God transcend what we usually call ‘nature.’ This doctrine is articulated in a compelling and rigorous philosophical form in Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics (1677), which provides the conceptual foundations for our project.
‘Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can be or be conceived without God.’– Baruch Spinoza, Ethics
Spinoza’s panentheism can be contrasted with both pantheism and deism. While pantheism reduces God to the world and accentuates God’s immanence, and deism separates God from the world and accentuates God’s transcendence, panentheism affirms that God’s transcendence and immanence are inseparable.
Our project investigates the religious implications of this metaphysical view. If we, and our world, are in God, what does this mean for us? How do we encounter, both spiritually and intellectually, a God “whose Glory fills the entire earth” (Isa. 6:3), a God “in whom we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)? How does panentheism reconfigure the relationship between science and theology, and how does this change our understanding of the human condition? How does panentheism shape religious practice?
Our project aims to explore these questions, and to demonstrate that panentheism is both a coherent religious position and a practicable form of religious life. In doing so, we seek to provide significant new resources grounded in rigorous philosophical research.
For more on the hypotheses and questions guiding this research project, click here.